Service your bike
Here’s a clever way to remember to check your bike that’s as easy as ABC.
- “A” is for air so if your tyres feel low, pump them up to the recommended pressure (usually a number printed on or moulded into the side of the tyre, see the Truth about tyre pressure.)
- “B” is for brakes, which can wear out over time so if your stopping power seems a little slack, it may be time to replace your brake pads or cables.
- “C” stands for cranks and chain, which work together to keep you rolling so make sure they aren’t loose or misaligned.
One more is “Q” for quick releases - the bolts through your wheels - which routinely need tightening.
Before you even throw a leg over your bike, take a few minutes to map out an unfamiliar route. Not only is a quiet, longer route more enjoyable, but it may also end up being faster than the shorter route through city streets, as it avoids delays due to traffic lights, stop signs, and road congestion.
Get to know the rules of the road
Whether you cycle regularly or just to pop down to the shops, it’s vital you understand how to communicate with vehicles, pedestrians and fellow cyclists . When it comes to following the traffic laws, there are three actions to remember. The first of these is of course, to look. Check you’re free to go and you’ll be able start cycling with peace of mind. The second is to know the cyclist’s hand signals. To turn right, extend the right arm perpendicularly to the body. To turn left, extend the left arm perpendicularly to the body. Once you’ve signalled to other road users which direction you plan on turning, now’s the time you can make your turn and get on with your cycling!
Be aware of your space
Paying attention to what’s around you will make complying with the highway code that little bit much easier. Yield to pedestrians, mind the turn signals of other road users, and be wary of any potential blind spots.
Make sure you’re visible and audible
It’s great that so many people are rediscovering bikes as a way of getting to work or as a means of exercise. To be seen by bike lights, hi-vis outerwear and reflectors should be on your list, and of course do not ignore the humble bell.